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Facebook Bets Big On Sports, Bags English Premier League Rights

11-July-2018
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Facebook Bets Big On Sports, Bags English Premier League Rights

Facebook has made a breakthrough sports live streaming deal for the Premier League. The social media giant has beaten television networks BeIn Sports and Fox Sports Asia and acquired the live broadcast rights in south-east Asia from 2019 until 2022. The deal is reportedly worth around Rs 1,821 cr. 
Reports said that YouTube and Netflix were also interested in some of the EPL’s international rights.

In another recent development, Facebook has reportedly also bagged Spanish La Liga rights in India for the next four years. If reports are to be believed, Facebook will replace the Sony Pictures Networks India media group as the home of La Liga in India.   
In 2017, Facebook made its first big move in the world of live streaming sporting events. The company was among those bidding to win the broadcast rights of the Indian Premier League. It bid a staggering sum of Rs 3,900 cr but eventually lost to Star India’s consolidated Rs 16,347.5 cr winning bid. Earlier this year, Facebook once again missed out on the opportunity to stream India's home bilateral series. Star India once again won the bid against Jio and Sony with a Global Consolidated Media Rights bid of Rs 44.4 billion. 

Following the loss to Star India, Facebook has been strengthening its sports team globally to build its sports profile. In March Facebook appointed Peter Hutton as Director, Global Live Sports Partnerships. In quick succession the social media giant hired Joyee Biswas as Head, APAC Sports Partnership and Rhys Beer as Head, Live Sports and Programming, EMEA in May 2018.

Facebook has been trying to increase its sports content, but is currently limited to streaming some Major League Baseball, College Basketball and Champions League games in the United States in partnership with Fox Sports.

Both the losses in India indicated that a Global Consolidated Rights bid is preferred over bundles. The Premier League win stands out in this regard; it is not a consolidated rights win for Facebook. At the very least it gives Facebook a foothold in the sports live streaming arena becoming a strong contender against television networks.

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